11 July 2024

The air and sea search for the 30 missing crew of the sunken HMS Sukhothai corvette class vessel continues for the second day today (Tuesday), after one crew member was found and rescued yesterday.

There were 106 crew on board the corvette before the incident on Sunday. 75 were rescued on the first day, many by an oil tanker which quickly responded to the SOS signal. Another was plucked from the rough seas yesterday.

Vice Admiral Pichai Lorchusakul, commander of the First Naval Area Command, said today that a non-commissioned officer, Nathee Timdee, was rescued last night by HMS Kraburi, as he offered an assurance that the search will continue until all those missing are found.

He disclosed that all the men had been trained in survival techniques at sea, including swimming from one island to another, and how to stay afloat with a life vest, adding that being a good swimmer is not necessarily the best way to survive, but using as little energy as possible while in the sea is.

He said there were four generators in the ill-fated corvette. When one malfunctioned, there were three in reserve, “but this time none of them functioned, because sea water leaked into the engine room.”

The vice admiral also said that the captain of each vessel has a standard procedure to follow in case of an emergency. When water entered the hull of the ship, and after an assessment of the situation, the captain ordered his men to evacuate and cling to the starboard side of the vessel.

Contrary to a previous report, he admitted that there were not enough life vests on board, but the Styrofoam boxes containing the life vests could be used as floatation devices.